New Delhi: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has issued guidelines to aid setting up of tiger safaris in buffer and fringe areas of tiger reserves, aiming to reduce tourist pressure on the key areas of these reserves.

The move will also help raise revenue as people will be assured of a glimpse of the big cat. The guidelines said 70% of earnings from safaris will be ploughed back into tiger reserves while 30% will go into the management of such safaris.

NTCA, India’s nodal body for protection and conservation of tigers, issued the guidelines last month. These have now been published on its website as well.

Besides easing pressure on core and critical areas of tiger reserve, the guidelines will also aim to create awareness for greater public support.

However, NTCA member secretary B.S. Bonal clarified that such safaris will only be allowed for reserves that have achieved full carrying capacity of the tourists in core and critical areas.

“Not every tiger reserve will be allowed to set up such safaris. Only those reserves which have achieved the full limit of tourists allowed in core and critical areas would be allowed to establish them," said Bonal.

The guidelines also clear that for such safaris, “no tiger shall be obtained from a zoo" and only animals such as injured and orphaned tiger cubs (which are unfit for re-wilding) would be selected and that too from the same landscapes as that of the area where the tiger safari is being established. “No healthy wild tiger shall be sourced from the wild," the guidelines added. The guidelines also specify eco-friendly measures: for instance, visitors shall enter safaris on solar- or battery-powered vehicles only.

In October, Mint reported that NTCA is pondering over coming out with such guidelines and they would be inhabited by tigers that have recuperated after injuries.

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